Federal Custom Shop

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
2,543
1,904
Read the recent Custom Crafted Cartridges article in Shooting Times' magazine about Federal's Custom Shop ammunition.
I called them to discuss potential custom ammo for a few rifles I have; the 270 WSM, 280 Rem, 7MM STW, and 338 Federal. Their ammunition isn't cheap (approx. $110/box of 20), but if one doesn't have the means or time to acquire or load their own, it is an option. Cost is associated with the quality control measures to which they test all components to. Their standards are very tight
I spoke to Travis at the Federal Custom Shop this morning, and he was very helpful and informative.

They too have supply chain issues so can only load cartridges for which they have the components for.
They do not have any 270 WSM brass at this time, so cannot assist with this cartridge at this time; although he did express that he hoped Lapua would fill this void as they have with the 300 WSM. I agree!

For the 280 Rem, I was hoping that they would have details regarding the 155 gr Terminal Ascent bullet in the 280. Due to the length of this bullet they do not load or recommend this bullet in the 280. (It is working very well in the 7mm Rem Mag!) His recommendation was the 140 gr Trophy Bonded Tip in the 280 Rem.
He took a pic with his phone of some 7mm bullets they do have on hand to illustrate the issue: 7MM Bullets.jpeg
Left to right:
- 155 gr Terminal Ascent
- 160 gr Trophy Bonded Tip
- 140 gr Trophy Copper
-140 gr Trophy Bonded Tip
- 150 gr Nosler Partition
- 150 gr Sierra Game King
I knew the Terminal Ascent bullet was long, but not this long!

Then I inquired about the new 170 gr Terminal Ascent bullet in the 7MM STW. He wasn't sure about this bullet in this cartridge, as they have not been able to work in the 7mm Rem Mag at all! Magazine box restrictions and barrel twist are likely to be the same issue for this case. So far, this bullet is only loaded in the 7MM PRC where it has been tailored for the case and barrel twist rate.

And finally, we discussed the 338 Federal. He is not aware if Federal will introduce a .338 caliber Terminal Ascent bullet. I would like to see them do this! It will be interesting to see if they make the weight less than 200 grains due to length...
He was very informative when it came to loading various bullets in the 338 Federal, with the top pick being the 200 gr Trophy Bonded Tip (as currently loaded by Federal with a proprietary powder, and is available as a component for handloading), and did let me know that Federal does have listed data on their website for various Alliant powders. (One of the staff members has worked for, or with (do not recall exact language used now), Alliant on the development of many of the powders, so has been a great resource for Federal in developing their load data.) He shared that load data with me, recommending COAL of 2.810" and optimum velocity of 2650 fps from a 24" barrel with 200 gr bullets.
Alliant's AR Comp was highly recommended. (46.0 gr listed as max on the website for the 200 gr Trophy Bonded Tip in Federal cases and Federal 210 primers for 2600 fps in a 24" barrel). Alliant's Power Pro Varmint listed with 49.1 gr max for 2650 fps with the same bullet, case and primer.
As a comparison, Federal's Premium factory ammo with the 200 gr Trophy Bonded Tip produces 2630 fps with a proprietary powder.

In some of my research, 50.6 gr of Re-17 should produce 2652 fps from a 24" barrel with the 200 gr AccuBond. This is a load that I will be trying in the future, as to date, my Sako rifle is showing a preference for the 200 gr bullets.

The bullet they have loaded mostly for customers in the 338 Federal has been the 185 gr TTSX. (Federal Premium ammunition is/was loaded with the 185 gr TSX).
I have now acquired a few boxes of this factory ammo and will be testing it tomorrow when I get out to the range (supposed to be +6 degrees C with light winds).

Curious if anyone here has used the Federal Custom Shop yet?
 
I also found out today that Alliant powders will no longer be shipped to Canada...apparently because they won't add a French label on their product!
Stupid rule by our government to add to their list of things to limit Canadians from enjoying the shooting sports!:poop:
 
While I didn't get to the range on the day I wanted to, I did eventually get there and tried some of the recently acquired Federal ammunition I have been able to find for the 338 Federal and tried out the new Garmin chronograph.

First, as reported in another thread, I love the new Garmin! So easy to use!

So the three new Federal Premium 338 Federal factory loads are the 185 g TSX, 200 gr Copper Tip and the 200 gr Trophy Bonded Tip.

The 185 gr TSX ammo produced 2700 fps from the 22" Wilson carbon fibre barrel (spec'd at 2750 from a 24" barrel), producing 0.821" groups at 100 yards, with an ES of 28 and a SD of 10. This will carry 2029 fps to 300 yards while retaining 1691 ft lbs of energy, and dropping 9.1" with a 200 yard zero. More than enough for moose and elk. At 400 yards the velocity drops to 1830 fps, so not sure how the expansion would be if IIRC Barnes recommends 1900 fps for reliable expansion???, and retained energy is now under 1400 ft lbs which is less than recommended for elk and moose.

The 200 gr Trophy Bonded Tip ammo produced 2595 fps from my rifle (sepc'd at 2630 fps), producing 1.683' groups at 100 yards, with an ES of 16 and a SD of 6. I will try this ammo again to see if was me and not the load, for accuracy. With its better BC, it will carry 1900 fps to 400 yards and retain 1604 ft lbs of energy, while dropping 26.7" from a 200 yard zero. That still maintains a hold on hair for elk and moose at this distance.

The 200 gr Copper Tip ammo produced the best accuracy of any factory ammo to date in this rifle, with 0.457" groups at 100 yards! Velocity was 2579 fps (also spec'd at 2630 fps from a 24" barrel, producing a 51 fps loss from my 2" shorter barrel), with an ES of 18 and a SD of 7. The Copper Tip has a BC of .425 vs the .440 of the Trophy Bonded Tip, so retains less velocity and energy at 400 yards, at 1865 fps with 1544 ft lbs, and a 7.4" drop when zeroed at 200 yards.

As a comparison, the Federal blue box 200 gr Uni-Cor ammo produced 0.654" groups for me at 100 yards, at a velocity of 2648 fps (spec'd at 2700 fps), with an ES of 7 and a SD of 3. (The gunsmith produced 0.447" groups at 200 yards with this same ammo after fixing the rifle's throat issue. They also got 2687 fps on the warm summer day conditions they were testing the rifle under, in comparison to my cool winter's day testing) Its BC of .410 retains 1898 fps with 1600 ft lbs of energy at 400 yards, while dropping 26.1" from its 200 yard zero.
And the Federal Premium 210 gr Nosler Partition ammo produced 0.893 groups at 100 yards, with a velocity of 2505 fps (spec'd at 2630), with an ES of 3 and a SD of 1! With its BC of .400 and slower velocity, it will retain 1935 fps and 1746 ft lbs of energy at 300 yards, dropping 10.3" from its 200 yard zero.

I have to say that I have always liked the performance of Federal ammunition in many of my rifles over the past 35+ years, for both its accuracy, and its on-game performance. I continue to buy and use this ammo in all my rifle, and use it as the benchmark to compare my handloads to, after using it to verify what bullet type and weight the given firearm is showing a preference for. Even then, I still stock up so that I have 5 boxes of the firearms preferred factory ammo on hand should I run low on handloads and do not have time to load more before hunting season, or a given hunt.
And as a hunter first, I appreciate that the ammo will produce useful velocities and energies for the given quarry, at the distances at which I endeavour to keep my shots on unwounded game within. After 38 years of hunting, my average shot distance on game is just 127 yards! With only a couple of animals being taken at over 400 yards.
With chronographing this 338 Federal ammunition, and experiencing SD's in mostly single digits, it is no wonder that this ammunition continues to perform so well. Kudos to Federal for producing great ammunition!

Federal; I will miss your ammo with some of the other manufacturer's premium bullets, such as Nosler and Sierra, but will admit that I am very impressed with the new Terminal Ascent bullet so far, and the Trophy Bonded Tip is another that is performing well (in other cartridges tested for accuracy, and on game performance to date), and am surprised by the new Copper Tip (my first use of this bullet to date, and will be testing on game performance with in the future).
 
The 200 grain Copper Top works well for me in my 338 Federal. Admittedly, I've only taken one moose with the ammunition, and that was a relatively close shot of ~75 yards. It did work well, however.
 
I also found out today that Alliant powders will no longer be shipped to Canada...apparently because they won't add a French label on their product!
Stupid rule by our government to add to their list of things to limit Canadians from enjoying the shooting sports!:poop:
I wouldn't sweat Alliant not shipping to Canada. Found some RL 15 in a store the other day for $65/ pound - not much of a point in it being available if you can't afford it anymore.
 
To date, the 338 Federal 210 gr Nosler Partition load has accounted for a caribou in my rebarreled Winchester Model 88, and the 200 gr Uni-Cor load has accounted for moose, caribou, and stone sheep from my Sako.
I had an AR 10 in 338 Fed 16" barrel, and I loved the 210 NP. I really put down the hogs, bear and deer. I miss that rifle. collapse the stock, shove it in the backpack and take off to the woods.
 
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